Making Chores Fun, The Shirt Folding Machine

My wife and I recently made a concerted effort to get the kids more involved in our daily chores. Although the kids are just 4 and 6 years of age, there is still plenty they can do around the house. We found chore charts online that did a fair job at outlining our expectations. The chore charts are tied to a daily allowance that is paid once weekly. Some parents may have a problem with an allowance, but we do not. All adults work for a wage and we see little reason that our kids should be treated differently. Furthermore, we used to spend money on snacks and candy which we are trying to cut out completely. If they want candy or junk, then they will have to pay for it themselves.

The results have been very surprising. The kids are very excited about their chore charts. My daughter is even finding new things to help with so she can fill in another square. My daughter was the first to ask about helping with laundry. At first she helped sort the clothes which she had no problem doing. Next she wanted to fold the laundry. This was a little more problematic. But, we had a solution.

A month or so ago, I saw a t-shirt folding machine. There are several places online that have instructions to make one. They are very simple to build (my 4 year old helped me) and cost next to nothing. They are fun to use and work quite well.


  • Scrap cardboard or foam core
  • Packing tape

The machine is made from 4 pieces. Since I was trying to involve the kids, I made the folding machine small enough for their clothes. They are both in shirts in the 6 – 7 size range. If your kids clothes are smaller or larger just size the middle section up or down accordingly.

Cardboard Pieces

  • (2) 12″ x 22″
  • (2) 8 1/2″ x 11″

Construction is simple, just tape both sides of the joints with packing tape. The side pieces are only attached at the top so the bottom of the center can flip up. To tape the seams, you will want to leave a small gap. The easiest way to leave the gap is to lay the pieces on top of each other and wrap the tape around the stack. When you flip the top piece back down, you can tape across the seam from the other side.

Using the folding machine is also easy. Just lay the machine so that the center portion that is not attached completely is away from you. Lay your shirt face down centered in the middle of the machine. Fold one side towards the center. Repeat with the other side and lastly fold the center flap towards you. You should end up with a cleanly folded shirt.

Have fun.

Here is the first video that we came across for a folding machine. This video also has dimensions for a folding machine that is sized for adult shirts.